The new Ram 1500 Limited is one flash truck, packing as many features as most luxury cars. It’s definitely a pick-up for the boss.
What does the aspiring Ram buyer really want? A truck that’s bigger, fully loaded and more expensive of course. And to that end, the local Ram outpost has been reinforced with the introduction of the latest ‘DT’ generation of the 1500.
A quick explainer. Ram trucks in the US sell both the DT 1500 and the older ‘DS’ gen, dubbed the Classic, at a lower price point. It’s this older model we’ve had exclusively here but with the arrival of the new-gen truck, the local line-up has been shuffled. We now have the DT available in high-end Laramie and top-of-the-range Limited specs, while the old DS trucks come in lower grade Express and Warlock trims.
There’s a price increase attached with the new model but then everything is more expensive of late. Sheesh, that inflation rate, eh? Where the old DS Laramie retailed at $119,990, the new DT is $132,990 while the Limited we drove rolls at $159,990. That’s quite a ticket for a pick-up but then it’s quite some truck. Not that the old one was lacking for space exactly but the DT is longer, slightly wider, and rides on a lengthened wheelbase, making room for an even more expansive cabin.
The Limited is one flash rig featuring lots of nice-to-haves like automatic side steps which extend when you open the door, easing entry into the swish cabin. Here you’ll find a big 12-inch, portrait-orientated touchscreen on the new dash. This truck is swathed in leather, the seats clad in soft, full grain hide and there are miles of double stitched seams. The harder plastics are relegated to lower regions of the cabin while there are many added extras like the leather-wrapped grab handle and ornate stitching that reminds of the wild west. There are countless USB chargers, and masses of cabin storage. The seats are heated (so too the wheel), ventilated and powered and there’s added adjustment at the wheel and pedals.
Its rear quarters are expansive with a genuine three-across bench boasting leg and headroom to match while there’s even a recline function. And the seats can also be flipped up for increased in-cabin storage when on work duty. Should you tire of the V8 soundtrack you can pump up the 900-watt Harman Kardon system with its 19 speakers; apparently it’s the most powerful system ever fitted to a pick-up. When muted, you’ll notice this Ram rambles regally, noise levels hushed thanks to active noise cancellation and acoustic glass.
The Limited comes standard with the Rambox tray, incorporating storage cubbies in the wellside, and a tri-folding tonneau cover. The deck is more easily accessed thanks to a retractable step on the left rear corner, while the tailgate has a remote release, a soft fall action and a helper spring that makes it easy to lift back into place. Despite its size, the Limited’s payload isn’t massive, a quoted 701kg. But it’s the tow rating you buy the Ram 1500 for, with the ability to haul up to 4500kg.
Adding to its flash truck repertoire, the Limited rides on air springs for a more compliant progress. It’s still a body-on-frame truck however with a big rear axle so don’t expect a ride to rival a Roller, though it’s fairly plush for something with such a tow rating. It’s height adjustable too; you can lower it for easier loading or raise it right up for off roading. With its switchable 4×4 system, which includes an on-demand type AWD mode, this rolls smoothly along gravel roads, powering up hills without any unruly diff hopping while flattening rough corrugations.
The 5.7-litre V8 is the only engine option, with the same 291kW and 556Nm output as before, processed again by an eight-speed auto. The e-torque badging on the bulging bonnet refers to the mild hybrid attributes of the engine now with idle/stop operation and improved cylinder deactivation.
The Hemi has a decent spread of torque throughout its range, with genuine pull from 2000rpm, and hauls hard to 5500rpm. The cylinder deactivation system beavers away in the background; you’ll note an eco light on the dash and a flat exhaust note as the engine halves its displacement. It’s surprising just how often four cylinders can get the job done. The idle/stop operation is well tuned and turns the V8 back on quick smart. It doesn’t really make a dent in the appetite for fuel however, with the average in the high 16L/100km range. And we didn’t subject the Ram to any real work. We’d hate to think how much gas it hoovers when hauling a big trailer.
In the bends, the roll isn’t such an issue but rather the mammoth mass as this never feels small. It rides the bumps smartly and it has plenty of grip with all that rubber on the road. The 1500 steers into the turns quite quickly, though the helm itself lacks a meaningful connection; it’s the tyre squeal rather than the steering feel that signals you’re trying a bit hard. There aren’t any driving modes – it’s a truck remember – nor shift paddles but buttons allow you to set a ‘gear limit’ so the auto won’t change up past your selected ratio. This helps stop any gear hunting and would be good for both towing and hill work. The auto is otherwise decent with both slick upshifting and a willingness to kickdown.
The RHD conversion on this rig is well done by the Walkinshaw Automotive Group in Melbourne. The move to an electric parking brake removes the oddly sited foot-operated mechanism of the old truck. Its mirrors are still too small – you can lose cars in the blind spot – but the DT generation brings with it new active safety features, including blind spot monitoring. There’s active cruise which is a smooth operator in heavy traffic, and extra parking cameras sure do help. You can never tell how close (or usually how far away) you are from ramming the nose into something. It’s still a beast to manoeuvre, with an even bigger turning circle than the old model. While it has a self parking mode, trying to find a suitable spot is another thing.
It’s the size of this Ram 1500 that determines the buyer. They’ll need a suitably expansive driveway, a big operating budget and something really heavy to tow. Though we suspect this rather posh truck won’t be doing too many hard yards, given its big ticket price and fancy interior.
|Ram 1500 Limited
|5654cc, V8, EFI, 291kW/556Nm
|8-speed auto, switchable 4×4